The odd edgy laugh-out-loud moment may not be enough to ensure Horrible Bosses is comedy gold, but Aniston, Farrell and Foxx’s against type turns make it highly entertaining.
Three disgruntled, hard-working employees, Dale, Nick and Kurt (Charlie and the two Jasons), hatch a plan to murder their respective obnoxious bosses, Dr Julia Harris, Dave Harken and Bobby Pellit (Aniston, Spacey, Farrell), but things don’t go to plan.
Horrible Bosses is a break-out, star-making turn for Day, writer and star of the stateside cult comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He plays the loved-up dental assistant whose engagement isn’t preventing his boss, played by Aniston, from sexually harassing him.
Joining him in this three-hander buddy comedy is Arrested Development’s Bateman, reliable as ever as deadpan, buttoned up, nerdy-but-cute office worker Nick. Spacey’s Swimming with Sharks turn resurfaces, as the sociopathic boss who is determined to block Nick’s career rise.
Sudekis completes the trio of employees, as the opposite of Dale’s loyal character. He’s a womaniser whose lust lands the three stooges in hot-water in a number of funny, physical comedy-filled scenes.
Farrell plays his boss and apparently the actor requested a pot belly and a comb-over for his sleazy, self-obsessed role and, thankfully, his wish was granted because he looks and is hilarious. Unfortunately, as the outtakes show, we’ll have to wait for the DVD extras to see more of his turn as the disappointing son to Sutherland’s chemical plant owner.
Aniston is as you’ve never seen The Good Girl before. Gone is the clean-living and mouthed Rachel, replaced by the foul-mouthed, insatiable nympho dentist Julia. While it’s refreshing to see the female character as sexual predator, the role itself could have been played by any actress and gone unnoticed, but it’s the brilliant casting that makes it unforgettable. Watching Aniston perform against type, delivering strings of x-rated dialogue is reason enough to buy a ticket. Did I mention that she’s semi-naked for half of her scenes?
Oscar-winning Foxx comes out of hibernation in what is little more than an extended but excellently cast and memorable cameo.
Forget about his Four Christmases: King of Kong docu-maker and The Office (US) and Modern Family director Gordon's comic sensibilities and timing work as well for him on the big screen as they do on the small.
Beware of the Horrible Bosses hype because it does take a little while to get going and there are a number of holes left unfilled. Aniston and Farrell’s story arcs are underdeveloped in favour of Spacey’s, which skews the film’s pacing.
The relatable premise, superb star-studded casting and word-of-mouth will ensure that Horrible Bosses will not disappoint audiences or at the box-office, but Aniston's underrated Office Space remains the workplace comedy.